British School Manila kids at inaugural Billabong School Surf Camps in Bali
The ultimate summer refreshment of sun, fun, and learning? Take 2 dozen rockin' kids from the Philippines, and put them on an aircraft with an internationally-accredited surf instructor. Destination? A magical isle in the Far East. Throw in the all-out support of the world's most awesome surf company, and you've got sunny smiles and super-stoked heaven at the first-ever Billabong International School Surf Camps in Bali.
From the last days of May to early June 2009, twenty-four students from British School Manila flew from the Philippines to Bali (Indonesia) to experience the wonderful Balinese culture and taste the endless summer by way of surf lessons at the Billabong International School Surf Camps.
Conceptualised by international school teaching professional and Academy of Surfing Australia accredited surf instructor Colin Kuit, the International School Surf Camps worked hand in hand with Billabong to provide the young kids with a comprehensive surf programme that blended proficient surf instruction with a strong emphasis on safety and skills, as well as an environmental and health-awareness project. All this was done in a healthy spirit of sheer fun and friendship.
"I initially developed this surf programme for British School Manila students last year at the Billabong Surf School in La Union (Philippines)," says Colin Kuit, Billabong International School Surf Camps Programme Director. Kuit holds a Sports Science degree and has years of experience as a surf instructor/lifeguard in the United Kingdom and South Africa. "Early on, we got tremendous support from Billabong, JV Borromeo (Stoked Inc/Billabong Philippines President and CEO), and Luke Landrigan (Billabong Surf School La Union head). The programme was a total success. It was amazing."
"The kids had a brilliant time over four days of surf lessons in La Union and learned about Green Zinc's (a non-profit environmental project in the Philippines) beach clean-up efforts. They couldn't stop talking about what a great week they had. So from the kids' reactions I thought, why not make these surf camps available for international schools around the world and bring them to amazing destinations like Bali and the Philippines," says Kuit. "Along the way, they get to surf, learn about local culture, and find out more about taking care of their environment. On that, the international school surf camps idea took off.""When I broached the idea to Peter Thew (Billabong SEA Marketing Director) about flying in some international school kids from the Philippines for a surf camp in Bali, he hopped on the idea right way," Kuit reveals. "Pete believed the surf programme was a perfect fit for Billabong. Because it was a way to reach out to young people, the backing we got from Pete and Billabong was solid. It was terrific having them onboard," he says. "The British School Manila students were excited when they saw all the Billabong banners and tents along the beach in Seminyak. It wasn't just a surf and culture vacation now, it was a celebration," laughs Kuit. "They were surfing, laughing, even dancing. It was insane. Working together with local guys like Dedik, Made, Ketut, Gade, and "Obrigado" from the Double D surf school was an even greater pleasure. It was an unforgettable experience for everyone."
Hearing what the kids have to say about the matter, it seems Kuit has found the perfect formula for getting young people stoked on surfing, health, and education.
"The surf camp was awesome, the best thing ever put on this planet," beamed 15-year old Ernst Shulze. "The instructors owned big time. I also loved watching Carlos wipe out!"
Isabella Occa, all 15 summers young, thought even the food was good, " Bali was the best activities week ever! I love surfing. I think Year 11's should be allowed to join activities week next year," says a totally amped up Isabella. "I liked the papayas for breakfast."
For 12-year old Emily Sutton, the experience was a whole lot more than what she expected. "Surfing with Mr. Kuit once again after La Union has been amazing." She gasps, "but this time the waves in Bali took the surfing experience to a whole new level!"
Emily did have her little fair bits of complaints however, "people could've not let out such smelly farts," she cringes with a mischievous smile. "Doing the skit in such short notice was hard, but we got through it. And the rehydration salts were yucky." Yet at the end of the day, it was a grand time for the young lass, "No words could really truly explain how much fun this trip was," says Emily. "I liked waking up to all my friends everyday, the food was delish, the shopping was great, and the trip was truly epic!"
Twelve-year old Riane Puno was in high spirits, took everything the experience had to offer, and rolled with it cruising on pure positive vibes. She decided that the good things were great, and the not-so-good things were great comedy, "After surfing for 5 days and having surfed in La Union, it made me realise why people dedicate their lives to it," notes Riane. "Once you get up on that board, it's like a never ending thrill. And once you crash, it's just hilarious! Thanks so much Mr. Kuit!"
Some even took home a prize, showing signs of future surf talent perhaps, like Kenji Capanelli, who kicked up a surf storm and was rightfully heaps proud of his accomplishment at 13 years. "I liked the surfing and actually getting to ride the waves. It was an awesome trip," says Kenji. "I liked the hotel (Dyana Pura Hotel), surf instructors and winning an award for best junior male surfer!"
Stoked Inc-Billabong Philippines CEO JV Borromeo was all accolades for Kuit's programme. "Colin asked me to co-sponsor a weeklong surf trip to La Union that he put together for the kids at the school, and I thought it was a really cool thing," says Borromeo. "Of course I wanted to be part of it. Both my kids attend British School Manila, and a surf programme that promotes health plus environmental awareness with a week out in the surf, well it's got all the elements that make a wonderful experience for young people. Imagine getting to catch some surf in La Union and Bali at such a young age. We'd all wanna be kids again!"
It was a life-changing week in the magical paradise of Bali for the young guns of British School Manila. They took home a few surf skills, a lot of environmental awareness, and a lifetime of memories.
"Seeing all the smiles on these kids and all the positives they get out of the experience makes this surf camp really worth all the work," says Colin Kuit. "With Billabong's generous support and the professional efforts of the local Balinese crew at Double D, the kids' experience went from great to simply awesome. We're gonna do our best to let all international schools around the world know about our Billabong International School Surf Camps here in Bali and the Philippines," says Kuit. "They're all gonna have a great time in our top-quality surf programme. Everywhere you go, the kids wanna rock."
The Billabong International Schools Surf Camps Bali and the Philippines is honoured to work together with environmental and health awareness organizations such as www.gus-bali.org (beach cleaning), www.surfaidinternational.org (schools programme sponsored by Billabong) and www.greenzinc.com (environmental programme/beach clean-up Philippines).
Billabong International Schools Surf Camps Programme Director COLIN KUIT (centre) and the top guns of Double D Surf School BALI
Submitted by: Joncy Sumulong Photo Credits: Edy Black (Bali, Indonesia) and Angel Villanueva (La Union, Philippines)
Source: Joncy Sumulong
>> SURF NEWS INDEX <<